ALBANY — As we begin to see glimmers of spring around us, it is also a reminder that it is getting close to the time to do your annual application for the Residential Ag Discount Program or RAD Program. This program provides a special discounted electric rate that is only available to agricultural customers who meet eligibility requirements. The discount will vary by the number of participants, the amount of electricity used and the amount of available funds from NYPA. While it will vary, the discount can be significant, and every little bit helps these days.
To qualify you must meet all of the following criteria:
- You must have a National Grid account billed under residential electric service which would be noted as SC1 or SC1C (page 2 of your bill).
- You must file “Schedule F” (Form 1040 – Profit or Loss from Farming) with the IRS or File Form 1120, 1120S, or 1065 indicating an eligible agricultural business activity.
- There MUST be a residence served by the account receiving the discount in addition to the farm load to qualify for SC1 service and this program.
- If you generate electricity with your own digester, solar, wind or other system you are still eligible, as long as the other criteria are met. The discount will not exceed your delivered energy bill however.
The application process is quite easy. For eligible National Grid customers, go to https://www.nationalgridus.com/Agricultural-Discount and download the application, or click here. Note it is a new form this year although the old one is still valid. Complete the application and mail or fax it to the address on the application. You need to attach either your Form 1040 Schedule F, OR Forms 1120, 1120S or 1065 to the application.
Please be aware that you must reapply each year and that applications must be received by July 1. The discount will then begin September of that year. Applications received AFTER July 1 are valid but will not be processed until after September and will take additional time to go into effect. With the delays in mail I strongly urge that you send in your application by mail as soon as possible this year.
Ø National Grid Extends Special Financing Program
I am pleased to announce that we have decided to fund our 0% Finance Program through September 30, 2021. If you have an energy efficiency project that can earn incentives such as lighting, fans, VFD milk pumps, VFD vacuum pumps, pre-coolers, etc. you can also get special financing where National Grid pays the interest for you! For most projects that works out to 0% financing for your choice of 2 or 3 years. Measures with lower savings and higher costs can still benefit with greatly reduced financing rates. Please give me a call if you would like a flyer and more information.
Ø New Efficiency Measures
We recently were able to approve several new measures that qualify for incentives. One of the first is a common one – frost free waterers. These units rely on a heat sink into the ground taking advantage of the earth’s warmth, coupled with extra insulation so they don’t freeze up. These can be a significant savings over a conventional stock tank and waterer. While the cost of the equipment and related incentives are not huge, farms often will buy several of these at a time making it well worth applying for incentives. If you are thinking of buying 3 or more of these, let us know so we can provide assistance with incentive dollars.
On large dairies with older carousel drives, an electric motor drives a hydraulic pump which in turn drives the carousel. These can be replaced with smaller, variable speed drive motors that can provide greater control and be fine-tuned for just the right timing for each milking group. In the past few months we have done a few of these and have been able to incentivize the savings.
We have also recently done several unique projects from subgrade thermal storage in greenhouses to manure pump retrofits. If you are looking at a project that you think has energy savings, we are willing to take a look. If we can document the existing conditions and the savings, we can incentivize it!
Ø Call Before You Buy
One of the challenges we often face here in Upstate New York is the fact that as you venture further out into the rural areas, our electric service does not have the capacity that lines do in suburban areas or along transmission corridors. The assumption often is that you can expand anywhere and there will be adequate power regardless of the load. Yes, there is power in even the most remote locations, but is it sufficient to handle your new business or expansion? We are seeing a large number of cannabis and hemp growers coming into the area, buying property and investing a great deal without ever looking at what power may be available. The issue is not specific to just this market, as we have had the same issue with dairy farms and traditional greenhouses. Today’s large operations take a lot of power to operate and it can be very costly to extend new lines capable of handling that load to your site. We do have Economic Development Grants that may help but you should know the amount you may have to budget and it should be factored into your decision. It is strongly recommended that you check on available infrastructure BEFORE you invest!
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